Unless you’re boycotting the news, you know that Arizona recently passed legislation, SB 1070, that would force police officers to ask to see the papers of anyone who looks “reasonably suspicious,” while checking on loud music violations, tall weeds, or barking dogs.
Mr. Selig, at least publicly, appears unconcerned. Touting baseball’s record of minority hiring, he says:
“Apparently all the people around and in minority communities think we’re doing OK. That’s the issue, and that’s the answer,” he said. “I told the clubs today: ‘Be proud of what we’ve done.’ They are. We should. And that’s our answer. We control our own fate, and we’ve done very well.”
But Selig is dodging the issue – the question is not about how many Hispanic ball players there are in Major League Baseball (a whole lot), but how much Major League Baseball will do to protect and defend the rights of those minorities who are the backbone one of America’s favorite pastime (so far… nada).
Given that Baseball does have more Hispanic players than any other sport in the country, it’s unthinkable that Major League Baseball’s Commissioner remains silent on Arizona – especially since basketball took a strong stand, with Phoenix’s “Los Sons” receiving widespread recognition for their public condemnation of SB 1070.
Ozzie Guillen, manager of the White Sox, had this to say when he heard about the outrageous law:
“We’re not doing anything wrong here. We come here just to work.”
And Cubs fans, in partnership with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), have a whole new website dedicated to persuading owner Tom Ricketts to move the Cubs’ spring training out of Arizona to protest the law. Read the letter and sign their petition, which asks Ricketts to move spring training to Florida:
Dear Tom Ricketts,
As Cubs fans we urge you to move the team’s Spring training camp to Naples, Florida.
We want a winning team and Florida produces winners–16 of the last 19 World Series winners trained in Florida. The weather is better for pitchers, which is better for hitters and better for building a winning team.
We also want a team that shows it respects all of the team’s fans and players. The recent extreme law that passed in Arizona is an invitation to racial profiling and harassment of Arizona residents and anybody who visits the state—including Cubs players, their families and their fans.
Baseball is America’s past time, but Arizona is not honoring American values. Please do what’s best for the Cubs and the fans and move spring training from Arizona to Florida.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s top soccer teams have cancelled games in Arizona, tourism is tanking (even the RNC has said “no gracias” to Phoenix for their conference), and a wide array of Arizona religious leaders are demanding a more reasonable and just immigration debate.
So where’s Selig?